New COVID-19 vaccination centre opens in Chichester

Residents in Sussex can now receive their COVID-19 immunisation at a new vaccination centre in Chichester.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 9:40 am
Updated Thursday, 18th February 2021, 9:44 am

The latest COVID-19 vaccination facility, which is run by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), opens on Thursday 18 February at Westgate Leisure Centre in Chichester.

The service is by appointment only, with vaccinations delivered by teams from SCFT.

Residents who are eligible for a vaccination, and who live within a 60 mile radius of Westgate Leisure Centre, are being written to directly by the NHS and invited to book an appointment through the national booking system, either online or by calling 119.

Westgate Leisure Centre

Initially, the Chichester vaccination centre will be available for people aged 65 and over, and for anyone in the top four priority groups (those aged 70 and over or clinically extremely vulnerable) who have not received their vaccination yet. It is not for second dose appointments for anyone who has already had their first vaccination.

It is the fifth vaccination centre opened by SCFT since the start of the year. The other services are at Crawley Hospital, the Brighton Centre, The Welcome Building in Eastbourne and Etchingham Village Hall, which is run in partnership with local GPs.

The Trust has recruited more than 500 staff and volunteers to run the vaccination centres, which are in addition to the local GP-led vaccination services that now cover all patients in Sussex, and select pharmacy-led services that are also available through the national booking system.

Amy Galea, Executive Director for the Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme said: “It has been fantastic to see what has already been achieved in the Chichester district for local residents. With the four local GP led vaccination services we have met the national target to vaccinate more than 90% of all those in the top four priority groups, everyone in those groups has been offered the vaccination, and anyone remaining who wants the vaccination will have their appointment very soon. This is incredible in just 10 weeks and testament to the teams across Chichester.

“The addition of this new centre in Chichester will provide further capacity and ensure that we can vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. It will work alongside our GP led vaccination services in this area and will mean that everyone in each eligible group can be vaccinated as close to home as possible, and we can roll this out to our communities as fast as we can."

At Wednesday's city council meeting, mayor Richard Plowman praised residents for writing to the NHS requesting a city centre vaccine site and also singled out the Observer's campaigning on the issue.

He felt the NHS had done a good job in rolling out jabs to patients, but had also listened to their concerns and acted on them, with the vaccine centre at the Westgate Leisure Centre set to open today (Thursday February 18).

He added: "That's a very, very good result as there had been a lot of concern along the way."

Martyn Bell added: "This is a huge relief to know this is happening and special tribute to the Chichester Observer and the campaign they ran for us. I'm sure that had a lot of impact."

As this was at the leisure centre, he thanked Chichester District Council leader Eileen Lintill and its chief executive Diane Shepherd for their efforts too.

Meanwhile Chichester South county councillor Jamie Fitzjohn thanked the mayor for his personal efforts as he had 'pushed it very hard and put his head on the block'.

Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m delighted we are able to open a vaccination centre today in Chichester for residents across Sussex, and I want to pay tribute to all teams from SCFT who have been involved in making this happen.

“The opening of this centre today follows the launch of other vaccination services across Sussex, and is all part of making the COVID-19 vaccination as accessible as possible to the communities we serve.”

Vaccination centres are one part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, working alongside GP- led vaccination services, specific pharmacies and hospital hubs.

While GP led vaccination services invite their patients to get vaccinated at their local vaccination service, appointments at the vaccination centres are made through the national booking service.

Anyone who is aged 65 and above and living within 60 miles of a vaccination centre, is able to book an appointment at the centre online at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or over the phone by calling 119.

People in this group are also able to choose to have their vaccination at their local GP vaccination service and people will be contacted by these teams as soon as possible. There are more than 1,000 GP services and more than 250 hospital sites now offering vaccinations in England.

Donna Lamb, Chief Nurse at SCFT, said: “We are so proud to be able to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme across Sussex.

“Our trained vaccinators, supported by amazing volunteers, are on hand to help patients who attend our centres and we look forward to vaccinating many more people in the coming weeks which will make a huge difference to the communities we serve.

“I would encourage anyone who is invited for a vaccination to take up the offer.”

Councillor Eileen Lintill, Leader of Chichester District Council, said: “This is fantastic news for our residents and we are very grateful to our NHS colleagues for responding to the concerns and needs of local people by providing this new city centre vaccination site. We are very proud that the Westgate Centre has been chosen to provide this service, which will make such a difference to so many people, helping to save lives and pave the way back towards normality.

“We’ve been working very closely with the NHS to keep make sure that our residents are well informed about their work and progress, and so we know that they have been working incredibly hard to deliver this unprecedented vaccination programme. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the rollout of the vaccinations, including our hard working doctors, nurses and volunteers.”